1002 On Becoming 70
“I’m bewildered that I’m still here.” -- John Wydra, reporter, commentator, author, former candidate for congress.
“I am... elderly...” John W. Gibson, Jr. -- philosopher, author.
“Age is just a number. And mine’s unlisted.” -- Joe Franklin, radio and TV personality, author and owner of the last working rotary dial telephone in Manhattan. Actually, Joe is now, as he puts it, “celebrating the 40th anniversary of my 39th birthday.”
Seventy used to be old. Now, of course, it isn’t. It’s not like when you were a kid and everything over -- oh, 15, was “old.” Seventy REALLY was old.
But turning 70 -- today -- doesn’t mean much anymore. Not when one still is the youngest kid in his class.
But what is it that keeps us living so much better for so much longer? Probably chemicals in the food.
Here’s what doesn’t do it: Vitamins, minerals, healthy diet and exercise (preferably at an expensive health club or on an expensive exercise machine at home, the cost of which grows in proportion to its lack of use.)
Meds. It has to be the meds! Even if you’re not sick, you take something. Blood pressure, cholesterol, baby aspirin, something.
And air conditioning. Those of us in this demographic remember when our “older” relatives (that would be anyone over 50) complained that they didn’t like air conditioning. The reasons were nonsense. “It makes me feel closed in.” “It makes it TOO cold.” “I don’t like the noise.” What they really meant was (a) It’s too expensive to run except in emergencies and (b) using a/c is a sign of weakness. (“My mother... father... aunt... uncle... didn’t need this, why should I?”)
People in hot climates are less apt to make these excuses. But air conditioning has probably saved more lives than all the organic vegetables, vegetarian diets, macrobiotic diets, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air purifiers vitamin pills and free range eggs, seat belts, air bags “Wet Floor” signs and chemotherapy combined.
Anyway, reaching 70 isn’t the milestone it once was.
Eighty, that’s another story. If we’re both still here, ask about it then.
Shrapnel (Kinkade [limited] Edition):
--The illustrator Thomas Kinkade has died of apparently natural causes at the age of 54. His pictures and reproductions and “limited” editions brought in millions of dollars a year, making him probably the most collected mass market artist in history. His stuff was Norman Rockwell, but usually without the people, and his strategy was the same: Sentimentality sells.
--Kinkade’s success was largely due to his use of TV shopping channels and franchisee-owned “galleries” as conduits to middle aged and older buyers who didn’t know “what else to get grandma for her 88th birthday next month.” And it was largely due to the art world’s present definition of “numbered limited edition.” If a printing run was too small or demand too great, reissue it in a different size. That counts as two pictures,not one picture with two printings.
--Coming Up (the only banned phrase at Bloomberg on the Weekend) # 1003: Mike Wallace. Wednesday 4/11. If you loved him, you won’t love it.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2012
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